WASHINGTON — In one of the biggest victories of Senator John F. Kerry’s legislative career, the US Senate today voted to approve an arms control agreement with Russia, by a bipartisan 71 to 26 vote, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding over the chamber and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the floor. The treaty needed at least 67 votes to be ratified.
Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was in charge of shepherding the treaty through the Senate.
“This historic Senate vote makes our country safer and moves the world further away from the danger of nuclear disaster,” Kerry said in a statement. “The winners are not defined by party or ideology. The winners are the American people, who are safer with fewer Russian missiles aimed at them, and who benefit knowing that our cooperation with Russia in curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and supplying our troops in Afghanistan can be strengthened.”
Senator Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, led the GOP opposition to the treaty, arguing it could restrain US missile defense. Republicans also accused Democrats of rushing the treaty through the lame duck session.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.